Don’t give money. Give Food!

As my husband and I walk out of the Crossroads Barnes and Nobles, this guy standing in the front of the store says, “I’m hungry.  Can you give me some money?”  We both reply, “No, we’re sorry.”  And I add, “I don’t have any cash on me.”  Neither of us honestly had any cash. 

We reach the truck, and my husband asks, “Maybe we should give him the food?”  We had a to-go box from eating out tonight.  I respond, “yeah, I was just thinking that.  You should.”  Kyle gets the to-go box out of the truck.  I ask him for his cell phone, just in case.  I was going to stay in the truck and watch.  Yes, I know karate.  Yes, my husband knows judo.  But, when you’re dealing with someone who’s about 6’1 and 300 lbs, you don’t take chances.

I see Kyle offer him the box.  I see the guy pulling up his pants shaking his head.  They have a small dialog, and Kyle heads back for the truck with the food.  Impatiently I ask, “what happened?”  He says, “well, when I offered the dinner to him, he said, ’10 bucks would do it.’”

Considering he never asked Kyle what type of food was in the to-go box, i guess he wasn’t all that hungry.

Comments (11)

  1. matthew says:

    this is why I find it easier to assume that *everyone* asking for money should be denied it, and that they are all trying to rip you off.

  2. Zk says:

    On the other hand, he might just be taking safety precautions (much as you were). People can be mean (especially to homeless folks) and can do not-so-nice things to open food containers (especially to-go boxes).

    Probably not (the cynic in me), but it’s always a possibility (the optimist in me).

  3. Andreas Häber says:

    Zk: yeah, reminds me of those people who gave booze, room for a night, money etc. to homeless people, with one catch. And the catch was to do sick things with themself or friends, such as: a guy gets to sleep one night at a motel if he bangs his head hard against the wall :/ Sick people!

    I’d say it would be better to give money to some charity organization which can use the money to give them food/shelter. That way you should be quite safe that the money gets spent on food etc…

  4. sara ford says:

    Zk, you have an excellent point, but let’s back up here for just a second. It’s 10 till 10pm and the bookstore is closing. My husband and i walk out of the store when a guy who wasn’t there 10 minutes before asks us for money because he is hungry. and not a minute later we’re offering him a to-go box. 1. There wasn’t enough time for us to do anything to the food. and 2. How many people carry to-go boxes with warm food laced with poison or glass or whatever in their cars ready to give to homeless people? Okay, maybe i don’t want to know the answer. My only point here is that the odds are in this guy’s favor that the food is safe. Not 100% safe, but pretty darn close.

    So, let’s say that the guy doesn’t trust the to-go box, but seriously wants something to eat. Let’s say he asks, "um, could you go to the grocery store and get me a sandwhich?" (the grocery store is right next door to the bookstore.) We’ve already made the initiative that we want to help by offering the to-go boxes, so chances are very high that we would have most likely brought him back 20 dollars worth of food, in plastic sealed containers.

    The next time I’m asked for money for food, i’m going to offer unopened grocery store products. =)

  5. B.Y. says:

    I feel sorry for them, but I never give them any money, because I think the small amount I’d give out won’t solve their problems anyway.

    I’ve read other homeless-refusing-food stories too.

  6. Marco Nova says:

    Why don’t redirect them to the local church and make a small donation to the church itself?

  7. Tod Mack says:

    Look lady, I wouldn’t want some strange food out of a damned box that some strangers gave me off the street. Fool. I also wouldn’t want to go to the store while people tell me what I have to buy, and observe me.

    I know most homeless want drug money, that’s part why I don’t give it to them, but I also know that most of them are schizophrenic, so they’d probably be a little suspicious, if not from living on the streets, then from have having people use them sexually.

    I saw this lady take her hands off the steering wheel to hand opened crackers to some homeless guy with her dirty bare hands, and they guy ate them. It was disgusting. Maybe she could spit water into his mouth too?